WNCC Board Member And Retired CSC Faculty Member And Dean Margaret Crouse Dead At 74


     Western Nebraska Community College board member and retired long-time Chadron State College professor and dean Dr Margaret Ruth Crouse has died.

Crouse, who held the title of Emeritus Faculty at CSC, passed away Tuesday at her home just 11 days short of her 75th birthday.

      Margaret Crouse grew up on a family farm outside Garden City, KS, excelled in a variety of 4-H areas, and was even crowned the Finney County Wheat Queen at the 1968 4-H Fair. 

     Possibly because of that, her field as a teacher was Family and Consumer Science – home economics when she taught at two Kansas high schools and even when she arrived at Chadron State in 1979 after earning her master’s degree from Oklahoma State. She received her PhD from Oklahoma State in 1984.

     Counting her time as a student, Crouse spent 65 years in education including 36 years of full-time employment at Chadron State in teaching, administrative, and leadership positions and another 5 years at CSC after officially retiring. 

     Margaret Crouse received the 1987 Burlington Northern Outstanding Teaching Award and led the effort that secured a multi-million-dollar Higher Education Grant and started CSC’s remote delivery system for classes. 

      Other grants followed and Margaret’s work in that area was recognized in 1993 when she received the Special Service to Nebraska Home Economics Teachers Award. She moved into administration in 1993 as Dean of Business and Applied Science and held the post until 2002. 

      Crouse was recognized twice by the Nebraska Family and Consumer Science Association: receiving its Outstanding Vocational Educator Award in 1994 and its Leadership Award in 2001.

      She returned to the classroom in 2002, but two years later rejoined the administration as Dean of the School of Education, Health, Physical Education, Recreation/Sports Management, Psychology, Counseling and Social Work. She retired in 2015 and was asked by that year’s graduating class to be the Commencement Speaker. 

     Crouse continued co-authored CSC’s self-evaluation that led to the school’s 10-year reaccreditation in 2017 by the Higher Learning Commission, and in 2020 spent 6 months as Interim Dean of Professional Studies and Applied Sciences 

     She was also selected in Feb 2020 to fill the Western Community College Area Board of Governors District 1 seat held for 21 years by her Chadron State colleague Dr Merlyn Gramberg, who had resigned in December. Margaret still had 2 years left on her term when she passed. 

      Crouse was active in the United Methodist Church with a special focus on its children’s ministry. She sang for many years with both the church choir and the Chadron Community Chorus, and was also known for her affection for cars – especially ones that would “respond” when she stepped on the gas.